About the songs on our playlist
01. The Irish Washerwoman
A popular melody from the first (of a total of six) part of the ”Irish suite” by the composer Leroy Anderson created in 1938. The song’s roots go way back to the age of Renaissance; there is a theory that the song was brought to Ireland by English immigrants; according to some sources, the song may have been formed in England. It’s based on repetitive parts which are accelerated by each repetition; the song itself falls under the class of ”Irish jig”, which is a name for a type of jolly traditional Irish dance by which Irish people are famous.
02. Ryan’s Polka
Also known as: 40 Pound Float, Armagh, The Armagh, The Armagh, Da-da, Death From Above, Dum-Dum-Diddle-Liddle, Forty Pound Float, Forty Pound Floiat, Hills Of Connemara, Jack Ryan’s, John Ryan’s, Johnny Ryan’s, Keadue, The Keadue, Noobs’ Fancy, Psycho, Sean Ryan’s, TjumTjum
An Irish traditional song, nowadays best known for being performed in the movie Titanic by James Cameron in the scenes of the party of the third class (performed by band Gaelic Storm).
03. Dirty Old Town
In 1949 a song by Ewan MacColl (real name James Henry Miller) was born which would be popularized in the years to come by the bands The Dubliners and The Pogues in their respective styles. MacColl is actually an Englishman and through the song he romanticizes his hometown of Salford (England) which was and stayed Great Britain’s main industrial centre. Canals, the siren from Salford’s docks, trains passing through the ‘’dirty old town’’, the wind stirring up the smelly, polluted air are the main motifs which, in symbiosis with verses about finding love and daydreaming in such an environment create a romantic vision of one of Britain’s worst cities to live in. In the final verses of the song we find a subtle viewpoint towards the exploitative policies driven by industrialization and through the threat ‘’ I’’ll chop you down’’ the song calls for a revolution of man against the oppressive hand, by a tool of his own making (‘’ I’m gonna make/me a big sharp axe ’’), although he manufactures the tool for the corporate kings of the industrial world. To conclude, the most remarkable version of the song (in spite of different bands’ efforts’) is of course the one by Shane MacGowan where he, tired of life and alcohol, in his drug, whiskey and Guinness-worn voice, sings the song penetrating the very essence of its soul.
04. Molly Malone
The song of Molly Malone (also known as ‘”Cockles and Mussels’’ and ‘’In Dublin’s Fair City’’) is the unofficial anthem of Ireland’s capital. A calm melody and somewhat melancholic lyrics are in no way a fault of this song; it’s found its way to the repertoire of many famous musicians (U2, The Saturdays, Danny Kaye, Frank Harte, Sinéad O’Connor, Johnny Logan, Ian McCulloch, Paul Harrington), but it’s probably best known and most popular in the version performed by The Dubliners. According to legend, Molly drove a wheelbarrow through the streets and sold fish and shellfish. She, allegedly, lived in the 17th century. She died very young, but everyone enjoys returning her to life in this song. Nowadays, her statues decorate the streets of Dublin, and on the 13th June across Ireland ‘’Molly Malone Day’’ is celebrated.
05. Drunken Lullabies
Flogging Molly combines an unhewn electrical sound with melodic Irish instruments for 18 years now. Drunken Lullabies is an especially popular song good for the awakening of the sleepy, the drunken and the sleepy drunken. However, this jolly and scuttling melody is just celophane hiding the true message: a critic of society, politics, relations between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, the eternal problem which divides into two parts: us and them, ”us” who are right and ”them” who are wrong for at last, our God is more powerful than theirs. In His name all is permitted, killing is blessed, war is blessed. People die, but for a noble cause: in God’s name it’s permitted to judge and deny other people’s happiness and lives so we could all, in the end, live in peace. Only, exactly how many people must die for peace? ”Hm, give a few more, it’s always good to have a pair to spare.”
06. Beer Beer Beer
A long, long time ago, when there was nothing to drink but tea, whiskey, rum, wine and gin-tonic, a man called Charlie Mops appeared and he gave the world an amazing drink, golden nectar with foam as a halo, whose divine flavor tweaks the taste buds of gods themselves. We may compare the mythical creator of beer to a slutan, an admiral, a king! The Clancy Brothers and Marc Gunn covered the song Beer Beer Beer, and the magical concoction surely must have helped them do it. The origin and genesis of the song are unknown, and mr. Mops is ever so mysterious too. Hm, perhaps mr. Mops really isn’t the creator of beer, but it doesn’t matter, rather bring forth a couple of pints and… Cheers! Slainte!
07. Drunken Sailor
Drunken Sailor is a rather well known sailor’s song that used to accompany the work of the sailors aboard, rowing mostly, and it was composed at the beginning of the 19th century. The lyrics of the song vary from place to place, from man to man, but always in the rhythm of a march the answer is demanded to the question: ”Hm, what should we do with a drunken sailor?” Of course, there were crazy suggestions. The song kept becoming all the more popular in the 20th century; the composers Percy Grainger and Malcolm Arnold used the popular melody in their classical pieces. The most famous covers of the song were done by: King’s Singers, Pete Seeger and The Irish Rovers.
08. Maggie in the Woods
”Maggie in the Woods” is a popular two-part (sometimes an intro third part is added) polka whose lyrics varied for a couple of decades, but the most polite one became settled because princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth, affectionately called Maggie, on hearing the song with a less polite text, called the Irish ”pigs”. In spite of princess Maggie, the Irish folk band The Chieftains performed this polka in concert almost as a rock ‘n’ roll song, provoking Their Majesty. The song was covered by The Irish Volunteers, Moggy in the Wood Ceilidh Band…